Public Relations made easy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pssst, Target, need some help??

Tactically speaking, I mean.

So, Target’s coming to town in 2013.  It got me thinking “does Target know how to target (pun intended) Winnipeggers?”

I have absolutely no doubt Target has a giant, well-oiled PR and Marketing machine. I don’t presume to know more than they do but I thought I would take a crack at it.

Winnipeg is like most other North American cities, with a two notable exceptions: 

We’re notoriously cheap. We shop the sale bin at the discount store.

We’re unfailingly generous.  We’re second only to Ontario when it comes to giving to charity. “Friendly Manitoba” aren't just words on our license plates!

The takeaway?  We’re nice and cheap. You know what I mean.

Knowing this, how does one win the heart and mind of a Winnipegger?


In a recent survey conducted by Bloomberg industries in August of 2012, Target has a 46 cent advantage over Wal-Mart by a whopping 0.46 points. In other words, $100 worth of Wal-Mart stuff would cost $99.54 at Target. A savings of 46 cents? Mind won.


Winnipeggers love a feel-good story and we love an underdog. How else would you explain the unfailing support of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers right up till the end of the 2012 season?

To win the hearts of Winnipeggers, Target has to promote the fact that they have a long history of supporting the communities where they do business. Since 1946, they've given 5 percent of their profits back to the communities as well as sharing their resources and volunteering. Heart won.

Target’s main challenge in Winnipeg will be to differentiate itself from Wal-Mart.

Sylvie Laurencelle-Vermette
First of all, I think Target could take a page out of Ikea’s playbook. A few weeks prior to their grand-opening in Winnipeg, Ikea mailed out a booklet to Manitobans. What was really interesting about this booklet was that this was not an advertising brochure but rather a “This is who we are, what we do, what we stand for” kind of document. I think Target would do well to emulate this tactic. It would be the perfect opportunity to talk about their Corporate Social Responsibility practices. In other words, let’s get to know each other first and see where this leads.

Next, use one of Malcolm Gladwell’s tactics: reach out to the mavens, connectors and influencers. At its very core, Winnipeg is still a small town. Everyone is connected on some level. Reach out to people like Ron Cantiveros, Ace Burbee, Elisha Dacey, Ian McCausland, Chris D. and Nadine Chappellaz. Get them involved. Have them tour the store while it’s being built. Let them take pictures. Give them some swag. They'll take things from there.

Send out those Press Releases. Tell the media what makes you tick and why you’re different. Go get some ink.

A contest is always effective in Winnipeg. Remember, Winnipeggers love a deal and a $500 shopping spree is as about as good as it gets.

Of course, social media is a must:  Facebook and Twitter. Do it up. Use them. Promote your contest, promote your Grand opening date, promote your brand names and create some buzz!

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